At a recent gathering from the John 17 movement, Pope Francis said that it’s the devil himself who keeps evangelicals, Catholics, and Christians from other denominations divided, and rejected the notion that it’s heretical to believe that all Christians are one. This is encouraging for us as UniteBoston works to help Christians come together around Jesus at the center!
Today, Father Kelly Madden shares a testimony from the recent cohort of Boston Fellows that just spent a year in intentional Christian community and spiritual formation.
Measuring progress in a spiritual program can be tricky and the Boston Fellows is, at base, a program of spiritual formation. We help recent college graduates start well in the working world, beginning with habits of the heart. One measure is their time daily in God’s Word, in prayer, in listening, following. Each of them cultivated this daily practice as a habit of the heart over the course of the year. We look for other signs of growth.
But it may surprise you to know how much we emphasize and measure their work at their jobs as a measure of growth. Their workplace is the laboratory of the program. Their service and witness to Christ depends on their doing good work for an employer.
What’s that look like?
Well, if Jesus is our Lord and model, how did he work? Can there be any question that Jesus was an excellent carpenter? A few years ago The Passion of the Christ illustrated this. Jesus is seen innovating in the design of a fine set of table and chairs he is making.
The Boston Fellows ’14 cohort have excelled at their work.
Amanda’s employer publicly and spontaneously praised her at a businessmen’s breakfast I attended, for her admin work in financial services. She was also the primary administrator of a benefit gala for Bethel Institute for Justice in Boston. Some 600 people attended, including Mayor Tom Menino and the Boston Police Commissioner. They raised $700,000 in one evening to help at-risk youth and families in Boston in the name of Christ. Amanda excelled here.
Yet to excel is, literally, to “go beyond.” So the Fellows not only work proficiently at whatever tasks they have been hired to do. We have them design, propose, and carry out an above-and-beyond project for their host organization as well. Amanda initiated a project that redesigned her employer’s website, for example.
Paul, for another example, works for Biobase-International, a pharmacogenomics company that indexes the latest research on how genetic variations change the effects of pharmaceutical medicines. Paul wrote a program in the computer language Python. (Which, by the way, he taught himself.) The program alters the raw data into a format that allows clients to incorporate the database into their own software systems rather than using an online version of the database. Big advantage for the clients, increased revenue for the company. And you then take prescription drugs that heal you, not kill you.
Meredith works for the 1,400-employee publishing giant, EBSCO. She proposed and developed a database to keep track of subscriptions and log-in information for the thousands of journals that they digitize used by the main organization and its two daughter companies.
In addition to their paid work, the Fellows also excel—go beyond—by doing community service, and serving in the church where they are based.
So while Pieter, as his workplace project, developed a way to connect people seeking help for sexual brokenness with godly therapists, he also took the lead both in a Bible study for the church youth group and in another outreach for twenty-something’s in the area.
And while Jim significantly improved the way documents are processed at the healthcare IT company athenahealth, and was several times named best worker on his team there, he also completely redesigned our website, www.BostonFellows.com (no comment necessary!), led musical worship from the piano as part of the church’s worship team, and… and….
They did all this, remember, while each was working at their first job since graduating from college.
How’s it going?
They are excelling, praise God!